PHILADELPHIA - Fresh off a marquee win over North Carolina on Saturday, the No. 4 Penn women's lacrosse team heads to Long Island for a game against Hofstra on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The Quakers are 2-0 this season and are heading out on the road for the first time this season to take on the 2-2 Pride in Hempstead in a return home for Penn's two Garden City natives in Erin Brennan and Shannon Mangini.
There is not much of a history between the two clubs as the first meeting came last year at Franklin Field, a 6-5 win for Penn as the Red and Blue held off a furious Hofstra rally in the second half. Penn had built a 6-1 lead with 22:06 to play, but the Pride stormed back with four goals in the next 16 minutes to get within one with six minutes left. Penn clamped down on defense in the final minutes to hold on to the one-goal lead. Five different players scored for Penn in the victory, led by Courtney Lubbe' two goals and an assist. Ali DeLuca had a goal and two assists while Penn's current tri-captains - Erin Brennan, Giulia Giordano and Carolyn Pollard - each had a goal. Hofstra was led by Corrine Gandolfi and Jill Maier who each had two goals.
The Red and Blue have put together a balanced scoring attack early in 2011, with nine different players finding the back of the cage at least one time and 11 players with at least one point through two games. Sophomore Caroline Bunting has five goals, already equaling her total from the entire 2010 season. Giordano has scored four goals while Brennan has added three. Sophomores Meredith Cain and Kelly McCallion have two scores while freshmen Mangini and Tory Bensen have scored twice as well.
Defensively, Lydia Miller leads the team with five caused turnovers and three ground balls. Giordano (five) and Maddie Poplawski (four) have also been factors when it comes to ground balls. A key to Penn's success has been controlling draws, as the Red and Blue have a 25-16 advantage on draw controls. Giordano leads the team with seven while Cain (five) and Poplawski (four) have also been key contributors.
In goal, junior Emily Leitner has acclimated herself well to the starting role. She has won both games with a GAA of 8.00 and a save percentage of .467. Earlier this week, she was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week after her nine-save outing against the Tar Heels.
Maier leads the Pride with 10 goals while Stephanie Rice has the points lead with 12 points on nine goals and three assists. Katie Hertsch is the defender to watch with 11 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. Jackie Pandolf has played all four games in goal with a 2-2 record and an 11.46 GAA to go with a .489 save percentage. Hofstra lost its last game, a 13-8 defeat at Albany. That game ended a brief two-game winning streak for the Pride with wins over Oregon (12-11 in overtime) and Denver (13-9). In its season-opener, Hofstra lost to No. 19 Boston College, 14-9. Before the loss at Albany, the Pride had hovered at No. 20 in the IWLCA polls, falling out this week.